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Calendar No. 654
109th Congress Report
2nd Session SENATE 109-357
POOL AND SPA SAFETY ACT
R E P O R T
COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
September 29, 2006.--Ordered to be printed
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
49-101 WASHINGTON : 2006
SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
one hundred ninth congress
TED STEVENS, Alaska, Chairman
DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii, Co-Chairman
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West
CONRAD BURNS, Montana Virginia
TRENT LOTT, Mississippi JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine BARBARA BOXER, California
GORDON H. SMITH, Oregon BILL NELSON, Florida
JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
GEORGE ALLEN, Virginia FRANK LAUTENBERG, New Jersey
JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire E. BENJAMIN NELSON, Nebraska
JIM DEMINT, South Carolina MARK PRYOR, Arkansas
DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
Lisa Sutherland, Staff Director
Christine Kurth, Deputy Staff Director
Kenneth Nahigian, Chief Counsel
Margaret Cummisky, Democratic Staff Director and Chief Counsel
Samuel Whitehorn, Democratic Deputy Staff Director and General Counsel
Calendar No. 654
109th Congress Report
2nd Session 109-357
POOL AND SPA SAFETY ACT
September 29, 2006.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Stevens, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation, submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany S. 3718]
The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to
which was referred the bill joint resolution deg. (S.
3718). To increase the safety of swimming pools and spas by
requiring the use of proper anti-entrapment drain covers and
pool and spa drainage systems, by establishing a swimming pool
safety grant program administered by the Consumer Product
Safety Commission to encourage States to improve their pool and
spa safety laws and to educate the public about pool and spa
safety, and for other purposes, having considered the same,
reports favorably thereon without amendment deg.
with amendments deg. with an amendment (in the nature
of a substitute) and recommends that the bill joint
resolution deg. (as amended) do pass.
Purpose of the Bill
The purpose of the Pool and Spa Safety Act, as reported, is
to improve pool and spa safety through the use of anti-
entrapment drain covers and to encourage State adoption of
uniform and mandatory swimming pool and spa safety laws
incorporating several layers of protection.
Background and Needs
I. RECENT POOL AND SPA SAFETY STATISTICS INDICATE A NEED FOR ACTION
Each year, about 300 children under 5 years old drown in
swimming pools. \1\ More than 2,000 children under 5 are
treated every year for submersion injuries. While motor vehicle
accidents are the leading cause of injury-related deaths for
children, submersion deaths are second. Between the years 1990
and 2000, drowning was the second leading cause of
unintentional death among children in the United States aged 1
to 19. \2\ Furthermore, in 2002, there were 3,447 unintentional
drownings in the United States, excluding boating-related
incidents, an average of 9 drownings a day. \3\ In light of
these accidents, a complete review of pool and spa safety and
potential precautionary solutions for reducing related injuries
and deaths was a prudent subject for committee action.
\1\ Consumer Product Safety Commission Website, ``How to plan for
the unexpected,'' www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/359.pdf, Accessed September
\2\ American Academy of Pediatrics, Policy Statement, ``Prevention
of Drowning in Infants, Children, and Adolescents,'' PEDIATRICS, Vol.
112, No. 2, August 2003.
\3\ Centers for Disease Control, ``Water-Related Injuries: Fact
Sheet,'' www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/drown.htm, Accessed September 27,
II. SUBMERSION-RELATED INJURIES AND DEATHS, INCLUDING SUCTION
ENTRAPMENT, HAVE BECOME A FOCUS OF INQUIRY BY THE CONSUMER PRODUCT
Serious bodily injury or death may result if proper safety
precautions are not followed prior to someone entering a pool
or spa. Pool or spa entrapment occurs when a person's body,
limbs, jewelry, clothing, or hair get caught in a pool or spa
drain or, due to the suction force of the drain (sometimes
exceeding 400 pounds of pressure), are pulled into the drain
and involuntarily submerged.
CPSC officials have indicated that they are aware of 74 cases
of body entrapment, including 13 deaths between 1990 and 2004.
These incidents occurred when a person's entire body or
individual limbs were held against, or sucked into, a pool or
spa drain. CPSC is also aware of 43 incidents of hair
entanglement in the drains of pools, spas, and hot tubs between
1990 and 2004.
Medical costs stemming from a submersion-related injury are
high. The CPSC estimates that an injury resulting in brain
damage can cost $160,000. Some injuries, due to an extended
hospital stay, can exceed $300,000. \4\ Toddlers between the
ages of 1 and 3 account for 75 percent of submersion victims.
This is the case even though most of the victims were thought
to have been supervised, with 69 percent of the victims
reportedly not expected to be in or near the pool. \5\ The same
study showed that 65 percent of injuries ensued from swimming
in a pool owned by the victim's family.
\4\ CPSC Website, supra n. 1.
Time is critical in preventing children from drowning. The
CPSC has reported that three-quarters of all child victims were
missing for five minutes or less. Supervision is also
imperative in preventing submersion-related incidents, but an
adult's presence around swimming children is only the first
line of defense. In protecting children from drowning and
entrapment, State laws, local building codes, and Federal
guidelines have spawned requirements and recommendations for
various ``layers of protection'' to be physically added to
pools and spas as precautionary measures.
III. S. 3718 SUPPLEMENTS CURRENT VOLUNTARY STANDARDS, STATE AND LOCAL
LAWS AND REGULATIONS, AND CPSC GUIDELINES ON POOL AND SPA SAFETY
Pool and spa safety has traditionally been governed by State
law and local building codes which regulate the design,
construction, and maintenance of swimming pools and spas. State
and local regulations commonly find their origin in voluntary
standards developed by the pool and spa industry, consumer
safety groups, standards development organizations, and the
CPSC. Consumer safety groups have also stressed precautionary
measures to protect children from drowning, including such
devices as barrier fencing, anti-entrapment drain covers,
safety vacuum release systems, and anti-entrapment pool and spa
designs, including multiple drains, to reduce the suction force
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM
International), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers
(ASME), and the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals
(APSP), have developed standards that address various layers of
protection intended to prevent submersion injuries and suction
entrapment. These voluntary standards are primarily intended
for use by designers, builders, equipment installers,
manufacturers, and code officials. They are technical in
nature, but serve as necessary guidance for those in the pool
and spa industry, State and local government, and consumers.
New model residential building codes developed by the
International Code Council (ICC) in conjunction with ASME and
adopted by various States and localities mandate the use of
several devices, design standards, and performance standards to
Similarly, the CPSC has developed guidelines that address
pool and spa safety, but are not enforced as mandatory
standards. For instance, the recently updated ``Guidelines for
Entrapment Hazards,'' is a document used by many States and
localities as a model in developing building codes and
addressing entrapment risks. These guidelines focus on
implementation of ``layers of protection,'' i.e., devices,
methods, and other pool products intended to prevent entrapment
and related injuries. The guidelines recommend certain layers
of protection like dual main drains, anti-entrapment drain
covers, and alternative designs such as pools without main
Summary of Provisions
S. 3718 would require the CPSC to adopt the current, or
revised, ASME/American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
standard on pool and spa drain covers as a consumer product
safety rule. All new drain covers manufactured, distributed, or
sold in United States' commerce would be forced to comply with
the relevant national performance standard, which is intended
to reduce or eliminate pool and spa entrapment incidents. A
second aspect of the legislation would authorize a Federal
grant program designed to encourage States to pass more
comprehensive pool and spa safety legislation. Finally, the
bill would authorize funds for the CPSC to conduct a nationwide
education campaign on pool and spa safety.
On May 3, 2006, the Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Product
Safety, and Insurance held a hearing to examine swimming pool
and spa safety, focusing on precautionary measures to reduce
pool and spa hazards, including body and hair entrapment. The
Subcommittee heard testimony regarding methods for eliminating
or reducing risks associated with pools and spas and provided a
forum for increasing consumer awareness of various water-
Following the hearing, the Pool and Spa Safety Act, S. 3718,
was introduced by Senator Allen. The bill is cosponsored by
Senators Stevens, DeWine, Dodd, and Durbin.
On September 27, 2006, the Committee on Commerce, Science,
and Transportation considered the bill in an open Executive
Session. Senators Allen and Pryor offered an amendment in the
nature of a substitute. The Committee adopted the amendment by
unanimous consent and unanimously ordered S. 3718 be reported
with the amendment.
In compliance with subsection (a)(3) of paragraph 11 of rule
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee states
that, in its opinion, it is necessary to dispense with the
requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) of that subsection in
order to expedite the business of the Senate.
Regulatory Impact Statement
In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the
legislation, as reported:
NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED
Manufacturers, distributors, and retail sellers of pool and
spa drain covers are the primary persons covered by this bill
due to the requirement that new drain covers comply with the
relevant performance standard. The number of citizens covered
by this bill would depend upon the number of States which
choose to accept Federal grant funds and pass legislation that
conforms to the relevant requirements set by this bill and the
S. 3718 is not expected to have an adverse impact on the
Nation's economy. Rather, requiring new pool and spa drain
covers to comply with the pertinent national performance
standard should reduce the societal cost stemming from
significant brain or bodily injuries.
S. 3718 would have minimal effect, if any, on the privacy
rights of individuals.
The Committee does not anticipate a major increase in
paperwork burdens for private industry resulting from the
passage of this legislation. In those areas where the bill
would require additional paperwork, the burden would rest upon
the CPSC to submit an annual report describing the efficacy of
the grant program.
Section 1. Short title.
Section 1 sets forth the short title of the bill as the
``Pool and Spa Safety Act'' and the table of contents.
Section 2. Findings.
Section 2 cites recent statistics and findings which indicate
that, of injury-related deaths, drowning is the second leading
cause of death in children aged 1 to 14 in the United States.
Preventative measures which can enhance pool and spa safety
include promoting adult awareness of pool and spa safety and
supervisory obligations, as well as the use of barriers and
layers of protection.
Section 3. Federal swimming pool and spa drain cover standard.
Section 3 would require all new pool and spa drain covers to
conform to the anti-entrapment specifications of the pertinent
national performance standard, or any revision of such
standard. Under this section, drain cover manufacturers may
only manufacture, distribute, or enter into commerce compliant
drain covers designed to prevent body, hair, and other types of
entrapment. Violations of section 3 will be a violation of the
Consumer Product Safety Act.
Section 4. State swimming pool safety grant program.
Section 4 would direct the CPSC to administer a grant program
designed to encourage States to pass comprehensive pool and spa
safety legislation. A State would be eligible for a Federal
grant if it passes State legislation that, at a minimum,
addresses elements set forth by S. 3718, as well as additional
pool and spa safety requirements that may be delineated by the
CPSC. A State's population, relative enforcement needs, and
potential for making the greatest impact on pool and spa safety
would each be considered in administration of grant funds.
Grant funds are to be used to hire and train enforcement
personnel for implementation of State pool and spa safety laws,
for education programs to prevent drowning and entrapment, and
for administrative costs associated with the grant program. Ten
million dollars per year from the years 2008 through 2012 are
authorized for the foregoing purposes.
Section 5. Minimum State law requirements.
To be eligible for grant funds, a State must pass legislation
that requires residential pools and spas to be surrounded by
fencing or other barriers to entry that prevent or inhibit
children from gaining unfettered access to the water, equipped
with anti-entrapment devices, equipped with anti-entrapment
drain covers, and, for new pool construction, built with
multiple drains, unblockable drains, or no drains. In addition,
the CPSC may add additional requirements for State eligibility
after a 30-day notice and comment period. The CPSC should
utilize performance standards and published guidelines in
establishing any additional minimum State law requirements for
eligibility in the grant program.
Section 6. Education program.
Section 6 would authorize $5 million per year for the CPSC to
conduct a nationwide education campaign to promote safe pool
and spa practices, and to publish relevant safety materials for
those in the pool and spa industry, including owners and
Section 7. Definitions.
Section 7 would define various terms associated with pools
and spas used in this legislation.
Section 8. CPSC report.
Section 8 would require the CPSC to submit a report to
Congress following each fiscal year in which grants are made.
The report would evaluate the grant program's efficacy.
Changes in Existing Law
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing
Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the bill as
reported would make no change to existing law.